tv [untitled] CSPAN June 4, 2009 11:30pm-12:00am EDT
to the physical and economic survival in light of today's command these states and businesses there is little margin for error in terms of the efficiencies applied how we respond to and recover from disasters. the ready communities partnership has seen the value of businesses large and small designating corporate crisis response office or to work hand-in-hand with government in preparation for and response and recovery to a crisis. ..
to thank our new fema administrator for his work in florida and express appreciation of the red cross for his support toward disaster preparedness in response in that state. for more than 125 years the red cross has provided relief to the victims of disasters, helped families prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. from single family, house fires and large-scale disasters like hurricanes to red cross workers to provide sustanon services to those in need. we shelter, we feed and provide critical supplies and emotional support to those impacted by disasters and communities across our country. our work relies heavily on generous contributions from the public including donations of time, money and blood. today airport preparations for
the upcoming hurricane season. and our organization on a local and national level operates on a cost and cycle and responding to disasters and preparing for the future. red cross rep. regularly participates in activities to build capacity to partner to plan, prepared, exercise and evaluate our capability is here this spring is a critical time of year for us because typically responding to tornadoes and floods in one part of the country what the same time preparing for potential demands of the upcoming hurricane season. to meet expected needs and material resources have been prepossession and 23 warehouses across the country for easy access and mobilization, we have completed a detailed assessment of our communications equipment inventory and verify their readiness of our nation wide disaster fleet. the national shelter system is ready and now contains shelter locations in capacity information for over 55,000
buildings that could be potentially used as shelters across this country. the national shelter system is used for both planning and operational decisions and records all shelter openings and closings and overnight populations on a daily basis. we have made the national shelter system available to fema and the states free of charge. and it's also currently being used by 12 other national non-government partners. it is also a critical function that requires advance planning. while we focus on the use of local volunteers and when possible also have a bank chondria people trained and available to leave their communities to go to disasters, the number is now 90,000 which is a substantial increase from the 23,000 rehab available for hurricane katrina. this disaster workers are trained for specific jobs and we're now in the process of
evaluating the availability for disaster assignment of the next several months. since hurricane to tina has several action reports including one from the senate committee on homeland security and government affairs, the red cross is focused more on coordination with a federal state and local government with the support from fema, which currently bought full time to speak to representatives to 10 of the fema regional offices and we also have an additional staff working at the fema headquarters. i have also a task the staff members to work with a national disaster housing task force. during the last year we have been working with governments, state governments in improving planning. for example, the red cross in the state of louisiana working toward a single unified shelter in plan coming discussions continuing with the state department of social services and the governor's office of homeland security and emergency preparedness and the unusual logistics and sheltering for
people with critical shan's petition names. we recently participated in the state of florida major disaster exercise and with fema and tabletop exercise category four hurricane affecting savannah georgia. we also participated recently in a cabinet level exercise that tell the category three landfall in new york city. identifying new and strengthening existing partnerships continues to be a strong priority of my organization. on the local level chapters partner with local communities to my face and civic organizations and also stepped up efforts to assure that committed these two and one organizations hacker disaster information. it relied to a knowledge to ms. durden the good work that the united way has been doing in this area. in addition we cultivated, and strengthen partnerships from such diverse groups as hope
nationwide, the national association of colored people, the legal services corporation and the buddhist foundations. in addition we were close to the national association judicial interpreters, translators, the national rich will translation center, national council later, national disability rights work and save the children, and also worked with groups such as u.s. him in society. seeing that my time is short i will move on to say that this red cross is also in moral two in continuing to improve our disaster response and cost-effective way, the economic turndown in the post magnified by disasters at the same time that the donations to charitable organizations are decreasing. like many nonprofits that depend on the generosity of donors, we are faced with financial
challenges. the major disasters of 2008 such as the wildfires in california, flooding in the midwest and hurricanes and gustav and i'd, we were receiving support -- >> you can wrap up please. >> -- without i will conclude my presentation and if you have questions i can answer them. >> thank you very much. ms. durden. >> thank you chairman landrieu, it's an honor and privilege to have this opportunity to be able to speak today on behalf of the new -- united way and the 211 system across america. as you are aware 211 is an information referral line that connects people to existing committed to resources like rent and mortgage assistance as well as food and utility assistance. however, 211 plays a vital role in disaster response and recovery. train specialists assist callers
in times of natural disaster and crisis providing real-time information on shelter location, food and water distribution sites, an encore and evacuation routes. 211 disseminates accurate information about the crisis and it relieves the very overworked 911 dispatchers who are also taking those non-emergency calls. as you are aware, 211 was truly a blind spot in a very difficult time in our state in responding to 2005 hurricanes kachina and rita, the landfall of us katrina, it had to close and our united way of northeast louisiana began taking all the 211 calls that were directed from new orleans and overnight we have expanded from a four person call center to 65 person 211, we had additional support that was outstanding.
from 211 call specialists around america, 25 states send people to our committee and there were hundreds of local volunteers who responded. as a result of that in monroe, 211 responded to more than a hundred 11,000 calls in two months. mccaul volume peaked at 7,000 the day that rita hit. after 2005 we were even better prepared for 2008. going into the hurricane season of 2008, we have a partially integrated telephony, statewide disaster plan, centralized disaster database, and 24 hours a day seven day a week average. 211 louisiana answer more than 117,000 calls between hurricane gustav hitting on august 31st of september 16th of 2008. in the peak of that, we were
assisted by the 211 system in california which was invaluable in expanding our capacity during it in a day window when hurricane ike hit texas in september the texas 211 insert 157,000 calls, absolutely incredible response. inland the aftermath of a hurricane ike caused flooding and wind damage throughout the midwest. and the 211 in the missouri, iowa, indiana and ohio played significant roles in their recovery efforts. the 2009 preparation as well under way and i am pleased to report to that we have complete integrated telephony the office to the louisiana. most importantly we have an extended an enhanced relationship with a louisiana state government. i am pleased to tell you that we have had a both red cross, 211 and national guard embedded in the sf for months of planning that have been under way.
in the third i would tell you that statewide we recruited and began training response volunteers if called upon. however, there remain enormous old abilities and i'd like to address those -- the current economic crisis has searched the call volume beyond the current capacity of a system and in locations around america. most 211 are still in need of critical elements for disaster response. for example, generators, remote-control calling ability, telephone service arrangements with telephone companies, and significant concern to all of us aren't the gaps and services along the u.s. the atlantic coast. two properly respond to disaster 211 across america of newark unified technology and standard operating procedure to ensure best responsiveness. every resident must have 211 access on etiquette of telecommunications devices particularly cellphones.
211 need a system of national interoperability with each other and other three digit numbers. senator leandro, we are in desperate need of congress helped to ensure boat reliable response to disasters and everyday needs, fortunately congress can cure this vulnerability during this session by passing the calling for 211 act before the next event occurs. chairman landrieu, we are extremely grateful for your steadfast support of this legislation, for your co sponsorship of the bell, and your ability to deliver on dedicated federal funding for louisiana 211 this year. thank you again for this opportunity and i welcome the opportunity to answer questions. >> thank you very much. i really appreciate the contents of all of your testimony and the thoughtfulness that went into its ear and out like to start speech that -- mr. mascelli about this chart, the national shelter system. i know that this was probably in
your testimony in some detail, but could you take a minute to explain, these are all in the only official red cross shelters in which you describe most of them in school buildings or most of them church is were places where people worship? how would you describe the shelters have someone look at that map and said describe the actual building that those dots represent camellia senator you're right in the sense that most public buildings and are the criteria we look at buildings along with city construction etc. is and that they have facilities second support a population, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. as, schools and churches fill the bill quite readily so most of them are either churches or schools throughout the u.s.. we have the shelters before katrina, but after katrina we
actually put those into a database of the first time in a computer database we can see where they were on short notice. what might be available and also when we actually have a disaster for local chapters will report how many shelters are open, members of people in the shelters etc. >> okay, and the school issue is interesting to me because obviously in a catastrophic disaster that we had and others have had, when people move into schools for a long time it is hard to actually operates schools and one of the essential ingredients of recovery for parents of children is to get their children back in school as soon as possible because and then and these were the children are in school the parents can go about all the work that they need to do to rebuild their home, their business, etc..
how does a the red cross mash the use of school buildings in areas that could potentially suffer catastrophic flooding and destruction in the you have a backup plan in the event that using schools and some areas might not be the best in that circumstance? >> there is right now work being done but there is a long way from a solution regarding and you're absolutely right, what happens when you have large numbers of people that are dislocated on seven bases for long periods of time. if there is the housing task force and that fema has that really should be the national connection from getting people from shelters and to some other type of housing here and i know that looking at evaluations' people into other areas that is a possibility but that has its
own trials and tribulations in terms of moving dislocating a larger numbers of people to other committees so as it stands right now the options are kind of limited. it does press committees we feel quite a bit particularly when people in back with from one committee to go to another and that would like to get back to normal again. so it is something that until a solution comes up for interim housing for large numbers of people we will still be struggling with that. >> and in the red cross model right now in the sheltering program, do you have a framework of one week for two weeks or three days or 30 days? you're sheltering plan is in no for immediate not long term, so what is your definition tonight but that? >> we look for a 30 day time and we think after that for other
reasons that may not be a good environment for a lot of folks so unless it's absolutely no other option available, we would like the sheltering to be within a 30 day time. >> end mr. foresman, given that this is still what i would identify as one of dozens of caps that i see across the board, this is one of them, the you have any comments about any private sector solution as some of your members might be willing to step forward on this particular issue? >> well, senator, i do, i have three points i would make -- first, i think part of which occurred in in in the administrator's testimony about getting to defining the objective rather than define the process and i think that is really critical and you said in you're opening statement that part of it is about how do we think, because disaster has and is very much committed the issue, it is a state and local
issue. the federal government is a supporter in different ways, it but it's about being able to partner those private-sector entities with local governments not only in the context of crisis preparedness for the first 24 hours but one of the solutions to do large-scale housing operations commended for having gone the task force on housing, but we've got to address the broader issue of what are we going to do if god forbid we have 200,000 americans that are homeless again? because the solutions we currently have on the table will not solve that and my colleagues from the red cross correctly pointed out, you can leave them in schools indefinitely. the second point, we've seen through a lot of our corporate sponsors who have engaged in active way big player in the ready communities initiative, providing technology about being able to identify resources on a more ready scale for instance in a local committee, not being dependent on the traditional government resources
identification but private-sector tools that allow the private sector to put their resources and make those available to local officials to the nonprofit committee and a right of others to be able to deal with that. in the final comment is this, senator here and you know, we have been wrestling with a model of disaster preparedness for recovery in this country for the past 25 years that apparently is not good for catastrophic events. what twoç turn in the last hour with the administrators testimony and his vision, what you're hearing from the colleagues of 211 and the red cross and united way is 21st century thinking for disaster response and recovery. as with the vatican educe initiative is about, was still putting on the back of government to try to be everything to everybody in the midst of a crisis. was to take a committee approach to a community problem to deal the crisis event. >> thank you very much and i want you to know that i agree 100 percent with what you have sent bond i also would stress that it is important for the
federal government to be able to function and to function efficiently and well because when it doesn't the other party is whether they are private sector nonprofit or states or locals have that much more of a difficult time. so you are correct, the focus of this is the nation ready to my not just is fema ready or homeland security redding or the federal government or the nation ready, but it is important for a least the federal infrastructure to be clear and anything division highbarger -- about the quality of people in these positions in any team could get it done and this is the team that can with our support and, of course, a lot of other people's input. in mr. mascelli, let me ask you this about the red cross, anger stan -- i know congress just appropriated a significant amount of money for the red
cross which maybe is not unprecedented but it is not usual. can you comment about the financial stability right now of your organization and what resources you have to address this pending hurricane season? >> yes in addition we did receive an appropriation from the federal government in the process of drawing funds to the federal emergency management which is the executors of the gramm -- >> how much was it? >> $100 million total. and we're in the process of drawing from that reimbursement for expenses for the last hurricane season and it continues until the end of this fiscal year. in addition to that we have taken a number of activities to basically come within budget and looking at our finance and part of that is we have restructured
our organization fairly substantially, our national headquarters and are chapter structure to reduce costs and we're still in the middle of that at this point. in addition to that an aggressive fund-raising campaign to get in this time one of economic instability had to be able to raise funds one and have these big disasters on ongoing basis so we believe that the accommodation of cutting back and restructuring the organization at reducing expensive, aggressive fund-raising in the use of the appropriation that we should balance our organization, we do a project for the next fiscal year which begins that will have a balance budget and proceed on that basis. >> thank you and what is you're operating budget? >> i have to get back to you, counting the biomedical services and a bus services and sold over
$3 billion. >> ms. durden, can you comment about the bill we are moving through congress and again the two our three most important parts of that legislation are for supporting a national network basic going of volunteers in large measure led by staff by leverage by volunteers that would provide not only the operation but the training necessary to provide that back up indications so essential in disaster really of it any thought for small disaster and it is you're with that is gone is not a small problem for you to tell us again about the specifics of what you see in benefiting in that legislation. >> calling for 211 act is critical and i think the first point is that only 80 percent of our country has access to 211,
there are 23 states in america that have 100 percent coverage as we are in louisiana, but 25 accounting, there is a map that shows that. >> is the map could be put up so the full coverage is then grain. >> 80% is the dark blue. >> and then the red states are? >> the red states where 211 is in development and i think it is particularly concerning that there are gaps along our gulf coast of the went to delaware and long island and new york, and the panhandle of florida are some of the areas where there are gaps. that is of significance. another factor is to the authorization bill will allow us the telephony capacity to be connected. we are very blessed and louisiana that there were donors
then gave us more i.t. and that gives us the opportunity with the flipping of a switch to move it around and that is absolutely incredible opportunity, but that is aware of our country so the capacity of technology is critical. >> if you could take that down and you when and with the same issue. >> and i seen that york has some serious gaps in the very highly urbanized area, new york, new jersey, pennsylvania? >> that is, correct. >> and then is that kentucky gripes west virginia. >> delaware. >> know, further out. >> kentucky, north dakota, arizona, wyoming. >> but on the eastern seaboard and the reason that i raise this issue at this hearing in the beginning of this season is that
the predictions i have seen and the feeling about this season it is the storms have been so intense in the gulf coast. there is some sense that this is the east coast time and i just need to reinforce that and other people and minorities have not had a storm and a longtime. but there are some significant study is that show what will happen if there is and it is not a pretty picture. and in 1938 there was a major storm that hit long island and you can just understand and think about what the population was then but what it is today. 80 years plus later and i am asking you are you testifying that actually in that part of that highly urbanized area that
they're virtually is no communication of people outside of your 911 if you want to record an emergency but in terms of where you could get a shelter, where you could get a voucher for a house, where you get a meal for your child that is basically the service that you provide. >> that is correct in your right, i think it's peace to the urgency of this calling for the 211 act that your supporting and i have to tell you that we know that that was never more vividly described illustrated than in after 9/11, the state of new york did not have it in the state of connecticut did it, the documented difference in the response of that very urbanize region of our country was vivid and the 211 was but a very successful in their response in the state of connecticut. well documented concerns that occurred in new york following
9/11. >> i want for the record in 1938 and category four hurricane struck long island and destroyed 75,000 buildings. so the question is for these highly densely populated areas, and you don't have a number to dial to get information, and if your electricity is severely compromised. if you don't have the right sheltering plans and if the only fema housing plan are still what it is today fema trailers, we are in for a very serious situation here. and that is why this committee continues to work and we will continue to work but it is just a matter of time and and i don't know how much more i can do personally to impress upon people who have insufficient some of these, how real some of
these caps are and what catastrophe lies ahead should a hurricane five or four are very powerful free slam into one of these urban very densely populated urban and low-lying areas along this coast, so having said that who i don't know if we have a short amount of time if there is anything that you want to add, i've got one or two more questions. is there anything you'd like to add about how you're going to shelter several million people. >> about the major metropolitan level areas in the capacity and prepared this in the area is catastrophic disasters are an animal on to themselves and something that we haven't experienced until recently and there is a great deal of work that needs to be done particularly in those